Curry Carries Warriors to Dramatic Game 4 Victory
Golden State Leads Series 3-1
The Warriors lead the series three games to one after earning a thrilling 132-125 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night.Photo Gallery | Box Score | Interviews | Highlights
The Warriors lead the series three games to one after earning a thrilling 132-125 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers in Game 4 on Monday night. Stephen Curry returned from a four-game absence and put on a legendary performance, leading Golden State with 40 points, including 17 in the extra period alone. Klay Thompson added 23 points, while Draymond Green filled the stat sheet with 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists. The series will now transition back to Oracle Arena where Golden State will look to close things out in Game 5 on Wednesday.
On the eve of the league’s MVP announcement, Stephen Curry delivered one final, undeniable argument in favor of his repeat candidacy. After missing the previous 22 days while recovering from a sprained MCL in his right knee, Curry began the pivotal contest on the bench. But by the time it came to its electric conclusion, it was almost as if he was the only one on the court.
Ironically, in a performance that will go down for the ages, Curry actually failed in his initial attempt to seal the comeback victory, as his running bank shot at the end of regulation rimmed out and sent the game to overtime. But once it got to the extra period, the greatest shooter in NBA history couldn’t miss. He set yet another NBA record by accounting for 17 points in overtime, including all of Golden State’s first 12 points, as Curry seized a game that had been hanging in the balance, and single-handedly ran away with its outcome.
The original plan wasn’t for Curry to play the 37 minutes he ultimately did, but Steve Kerr was forced to pivot from that intention after Shaun Livingston picked up a double technical and an ejection with 1:39 remaining in the first half, at which time Golden State trailed 58-52. Within the preceding minutes, the Dubs had trimmed the deficit to a single possession, which was quite an improvement from the opening six minutes of the game. The Warriors converted only one of their first 12 shots, as Portland raced out to a 16-2 lead. Curry would see his first action of the game at that point and get Golden State’s offense back on track almost immediately, but their 18 points at the quarter’s conclusion matched their fewest in any quarter this postseason. Portland scored seven-straight points following the Livingston ejection before Curry’s three-point play with 34.6 seconds left sent the Warriors into halftime trailing 67-57. That was the most points Golden State had allowed in any half this postseason.
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who had combined for 31 points in the first half, were shut out in the third quarter, while Draymond Green and Klay Thompson had much better luck. The Warriors’ duo combined to score 20 of Golden State’s first 22 points to open the frame, the final three of which from a Thompson three-pointer gave the Dubs their first lead of the night at 79-78 with 3:45 left to play. Golden State’s lead would grow as large as four points before a Portland burst to close the quarter trimmed their advantage to 86-85 after three.
The Warriors appeared on the verge of running away with the game after Curry’s jumper put them up 92-87 just under three minutes into the fourth frame, but McCollum responded with a three-pointer, and another three-pointer from Lillard two minutes later put Portland back in front 99-97 with 6:35 remaining in regulation. That would lay the stage for a frenetic finish in which the two sides alternated converting skillful plays with high degrees of difficulty to momentarily reclaim a lead. First, it was Curry’s turn, whose first three-pointer of the night put Golden State out in front 103-100 with 4:35 left to play. Then, Lillard seized control and scored seven consecutive points to reclaim a 107-103 advantage with 2:12 remaining in regulation. Curry would drain his second three-pointer on the ensuing possession, and after Lillard sank a jump shot, Draymond Green threw down a vicious dunk to cut the deficit to 109-108 with 1:33 left on the clock. Mason Plumlee would get a dunk of his own to extend the Trail Blazers’ lead to three, but Harrison Barnes came through when his team needed him most, sinking a game-tying three-pointer with 51.9 seconds left. Lillard would go on to miss Portland’s final attempt of regulation, but Curry’s runner rimmed out in the final, sending the game into overtime.
Curry’s layup to open the extra period served as the match that sparked the inferno, as once the reigning MVP got going, there was no way to stop him. Portland would respond with five-straight points, but their lead would only shrink from there. Curry would tie things up with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession, and after McCollum hit a stepback jumper, Curry would go on to score seven consecutive points to put Golden State in front for good. The climax of his majestic performance would come less than a minute later, as his fifth and final three-pointer of the night put the Dubs up 128-120 and let the air out of the building. He’d add two more points to his stat line for a total of 17 points in overtime, breaking the league record for the most points scored by a player in any overtime period in NBA history.
Now leading the series 3-1, Golden State will head back home where they’ll attempt to close out the Trail Blazers in Game 5 on Wednesday night.
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